(Singapore) With Indian, Malay, and Chinese influences, the island nation of Singapore has a unique culture that is easily revealed by exploring its various ethnic neighborhoods and exotic local cuisine. This spring, Semester at Sea will be in Singapore during the Chinese New Year and students will be able to observe and participate in the cultural celebrations.
Samuel Butler, Erewhon. This hugely inventive 1872 satire by the author of the anti-Victorian novel The Way of All Flesh is perhaps more accurately described as ‘anti-utopian’, though it follows the utopian narrative structure. The fictional land of Erewhon – almost ‘nowhere’ backwards – is the setting for this novel. Among the things satirised by Butler in this book is the rise of the machines, which Butler argues will evolve at an ever-faster rate – along the lines of Darwinian evolution – until the machines eventually overtake humans.
Ursula Le Guin, The Dispossessed. Published in 1974 when the Cold War had become established as a leading theme of much speculative and science fiction, The Dispossessed is a utopian novel about two worlds: one essentially a 1970s United States replete with capitalism and greed, and the other an anarchist society where the concept of personal property is alien to the people. One of the finest examples of the utopian novel produced in the last fifty years.
Pleasantville is a New Line Cinema utopian/dystopian movie from 1998 with Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, and Jeff Daniels. The main protagonist, two teenagers are transported into a black and white TV show called Pleasantville. As they are integrated with the people of Pleasantville community, they slowly brought some new values resulting with red rose growing in this black and white world.
Unlike many games, where different songs have different themes for each character or area, Wintory chose to base all of the pieces on one theme which stood for the player and their journey, with cello solos especially representing the player. Wintory describes the music as "like a big cello concerto where you are the soloist and all the rest of the instruments represent the world around you", though he describes it as not necessarily orchestral due to the inclusion of electronic aspects. The cello begins the game as "immersed in a sea of electronic sound", before first emerging on its own and then merging into a full orchestra, mirroring the player's journey to the mountain. While the game's art style is based on several different cultures, Wintory tried to remove any overt cultural influences from the music to make it "as universal and culture-less as possible". Tina Guo features as the cellist for the soundtrack. She is a close friend of Wintory and has since performed "Woven Variations" with him, an eight-minute orchestral variation on the Journey soundtrack. All of the non-electronic instruments in the soundtrack were recorded with a live orchestra.
The first book is told from the perspective of More, the narrator, who is introduced by his friend Peter Giles to a fellow traveller named Raphael Hythloday, whose name translates as “expert of nonsense” in Greek. In an amical dialogue with More and Giles, Hythloday expresses strong criticism of then-modern practices in England and other Catholicism-dominated countries, such as the crime of theft being punishable by death, and the over-willingness of kings to start wars (Getty, 321).
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels. In this work of 1726, which was an immediate bestseller, Lemuel Gulliver actually visits four different fantasy worlds, but the one that’s especially interesting here is the world of the Houyhnhnms, horses endowed with reason and speech, and a world in which humans are yobbish Yahoos flinging their muck around. Gulliver interprets the Houyhnhnms’ society as a utopian world, though whether Swift is inviting us to agree, or to distance ourselves from Gulliver, remains a contentious point.
Hythloday, speaking in Book 1, agrees with Plato and the people of Utopia that "as long as everyone has his own property, there is no hope of curing them and putting society back into good condition." (48) More disagrees and believes, along with Aristotle and Aquinas, "that no one can live comfortably where everything is held in common. For how can there be any abundance of goods when everyone stops working because he is no longer motivated by making a profit, and grows lazy because he relies on the labors of others." (48)
Reviewers were especially pleased with the emotional experience of playing the game, particularly with other players. Christian Donlan of Eurogamer described it as a "non-denominational religious experience" that, with the addition of another player, moves beyond metaphors and becomes a "pilgrimage" to the player. A reviewer writing for Edge magazine said the emotional arc of the game hits with "occasionally startling power", while Patrick Shaw from Wired said the game made him feel a "wide range of emotions... wonder, fear, even sadness". Miller said all three times he played the game, "each time, without fail, individual moments... managed to give me goosebumps, and those moments have remained on my mind for weeks afterward". Joel Gregory of PlayStation Official Magazine praised the game's story for being open to the player's interpretation, leaving an ambiguity that drew him in. The addition of an unnamed second player was described by Donlan as brilliant and as a "master stroke", and Edge said it made for "a more absorbing, more atmospheric experience".
Situated near the southern tip of the African continent, Namibia is a vast land brimming with adventure. The nation itself is quite large- about twice the size of California- but is home to only a little over two million inhabitants. With a low population to land ratio, the nation makes a name for itself with the numerous natural attractions that it has to offer, making it a true haven for lovers of the outdoors Namibia is covered in beautiful desert regions, including the Namib Desert, regarded at one of the oldest in the world, as well as lush countryside, plateau regions, and coastal plains of rolling sand dunes, with a subtropical and arid climate.